Help with Peru itinerary

Feb 17th, 2012, 05:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 168
Help with Peru itinerary

Hello all,
I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to Peru this May/June. I realize this is the high season so I need to book everything ahead of time. Any thoughts on the following itinerary?

Day 1 – Land in Lima late at night
Day 2 – fly to Arequipa
Day 3 – Arequipa
Day 4 – Canon del Colca
Day 5 – Canon del Colca
Day 6 – fly or bus to Puno. Possibly home stay on Lake Titicaca?
Day 7 – Puno
Day 8 – Inka Express to Cuzco
Day 9 – rafting in Cuzco
Day 10 – day in Cuzco and Sacred Valley
Day 11 – day in Cuzco and Sacred Valley
Day 12 – train to Aguas Calientes
Day 13 – Machu Picchu
Day 14 – ???
Day 15 – fly to Lima
Day 16 – early morning flight back home

We are interested in a combination of outdoor activities (rafting, hiking) and history, sightseeing, etc. I’m struggling most with the Sacred Valley portion of this trip. Should we base in Cuzco and take day trips around the Sacred Valley? Or should we stay in Ollantaytambo for a few nights? I see that most people stay in Ollantaytambo for a part of the trip. Will we be missing anything if we don’t stay here? I originally had a few nights in Ollantaytambo in the itinerary, but was just trying to minimize the travel days so we could maximize activities each day.

Another option is to take a few days off of each place and try to fit in a visit to Huacachina and the Nazca lines, but I’m not sure how feasible that is. Possibly take out Canon del Colca?

I typically prefer to travel independently and book all trains, busses etc. by myself. However, I am not opposed to hiring a guide for certain parts of the trip if it will make the transfers logistically easier.

travelersusan is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,633
Looks familiar maybe you posted already on TA.

No point in flying from Colca to Puno. Take the 4M bus Chivay to Puno.

Move Machu Picchu up in the rotation for Cusco/SV. I'd probably do it the second day since you're already acclimated. For the Sunday do the markets (Chinchero/Pisac).

I'd do Colca Canyon before Puno and before Nazca, I think you might even want to add a day there if you like to hike and take it from SV. You don't eg need a whole day just to go to Aguas Calientes.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 08:08 AM
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Also if you are into hiking you may want a second day at MP to allow for hiking Huayna Picchu, Inca Bridge and Sun Gate.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 168
Thanks for your help. No, that wasn't me on TA. However I know that a lot of people take very similar itineraries.

I'm still undecided on staying in Ollantaytambo or Cuzco.

Would I be sorely disappointed if I skip Nazca? I just wish it was easier to get to.
travelersusan is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Congrats on your trip Susan usually bus down the gringo trail
to adjust to altitude better and see it all. Many just fly to/from my fav Cusco always do Sacred Valley MP first lower in altitude than Cusco. I liked Nasca Ballestas Colca all amazing to see so personally would go for Nasca only 6 hours with lots ofstops it goes quickly for me.

Happy Travels
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,633
By the time you have spent a few nights in Arequipa, Colca and Puno you will be acclimated to the extent that you can start in Cuzco.

Cuzco has more nightlife, Ollantaytambo has more atmosphere and more hikes. If yo don't mind switching hotels every few days they are different enough that I would split the stay.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
I think your itinerary is fine, but i would tweak a few things like the arrival in Puno and staying in homestay...Puno is a horrible town, and you should try to avoid it or a least choose carefully where you stay, or preferably stay out of town.

i dont know your budget but the Inka Express is a very touristy experience, a private car would be ideal to detour from the gringo trail.

Finally, I would strongly advise you to stay in the Urubamba Valley to carry outdoor activities. No point basing yourself in cusco for that. in the Urubamba Valley, it can be Ollantaytambo or Urubamba too. and finally be careful where you raft because downriver from Cusco the river can be dirty.

Stay in Cusco a couple of nights at the end for culture and restaurants. cusco is one of the finest Colonial cities in South America.

hope this helps

marisol mosquera
Marisol_Mosquera is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,633
I don't agree that Puno is "horrible", it's perfectly fine to stay there for a night or two near the Plaza de Armas. I stayed at Hotel Qelqatani and their sister hotel Posada Don Giorgio. This is a small family owned hotel with great staff and modest rooms, and Qelqatani has an elevator which is a bonus at altitude.

Tip: If you arrive by bus to the Puno bus terminal, don't accept a ride from any of the taxi touts inside. The "official" taxis are outside the terminal, as you enter you will go to your right and out a door to the far right and top of the terminal. Most hotels also will send a pickup to the terminal although it costs a bit more than the onsite taxis.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 59
I think you are spending too much time in Puno.
Day 7 - late bus(4hrs) to Puno spend night
Day 6 – taquile, uros and then spend night on island or in Puno
Day 7 – Inka Express to Cusco
Day 8 – Cusco city tour
Day 9 – rafting in Cuzco
Day 10 – SV - Pisac market/ruins, moray maras, chinchero
Day 11 – Tipon, Piccallacta
Day 12 – taxi to Olly and visit town and ruins then train to Aguas Calientes and spend night
Day 13 – Machu Picchu then later train to Olly and return to Cusco
Day 14 – do a trek off the beaten path or shopping in Cusco
Day 15 – fly to Lima and do city tour
Day 16 – early morning flight back home
waylluy is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2012, 01:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 168
Thanks for your help everyone. The only reason I had multiple nights in the Puno area was so that we could do a homestay on Lake Titicaca. It leaves early one morning, and the comes back to Puno late on the second day, so figured I would have to overnight there.
travelersusan is offline  

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